Russel Tribunal on Palestine Part IV: The Executive Summary of the Findings – International violations by Israel, the US and the UN
October 8, 2012
The final session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine focused on the United States’ role in the Israeli occupation of Palestine, as well as the failure of the United Nations to uphold human rights.
As experts spoke about Israeli violations of international law and American facilitation of those violations, the jury drafted their findings to assist in the creation of an influential mobilization fighting for the self-determination of Palestine and an expulsion of Israeli settlers from the occupied territories.
“There is now a situation in which Israel has achieved a status of immunity and impunity by their complete disregard for the norms and standards of international law facilitated by the US,” the report stated.
- Israel’s violations of international law from the report:
1. Violation of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.
2. Violation of customary law, human rights norms by prohibiting the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes.
3. Violation of the Security Council Resolutions requiring Israel to withdraw from occupied territories.
4. Violation of annexing Jerusalem, which includes the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This violation encompasses control of air and maritime spaces along borders and inside the Gaza Strip. This denies Gaza access to 35 percent of cultivatable areas.
5. Violation of Palestinian people’s right to their natural resources and wealth through the use of agricultural land and water reserves.
6. Violation of international humanitarian law prohibiting: establishment of settlements, expulsion of Palestinians from their own land, demolitions and expropriations of Palestinians homes and lands, mistreatment, torture and prolonged administrative detention, non-compliance with the right of return to Palestinian refugees, military attacks against civilians, indiscriminate attacks against Gaza and Palestinian refugee camps, violations against the 2004 ICJ decision on the Wall.
7. Violation of fundamental rights and freedoms, such as freedom of movement, religion, right to work, health and education because of the Israeli Wall and military checkpoints.
8. Violation of prohibition of discrimination based on national origin akin to apartheid.
The above violations also quality as violations of international law, such as war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of Apartheid.
In violation of its domestic law, the United States has provided:
1. Economic aid, as Israel is the largest recipient of US foreign aid since 1976 and the largest cumulative recipient since World War II with more than $115 billion in aid.
2. Diplomatic aid, as the US has been the lone veto of UN resolutions critical of Israel 43 times of its 82 vetoes. Israel’s violations of the Geneva Convention are protected by the US through these vetoes.
3. Military aid, as Israel ranks as one of the top ten arms suppliers globally with 60 percent of US military funding. Israel also receives funds from annual defense appropriation bills for joint US-Israeli missile defense programs that can exceed $100 million.
In addition to violations of its own domestic law, the US has also violated international law:
1. By enabling and financing Israel’s crimes, an international wrongful act per Article 16 of the International Law Commission’s Draft Articles on Responsibility of States.
2. By obstructing accountability for violations of the Geneva Convention, the US has failed to meet obligations as a High Contracting Party.
3. By providing economic support for settlement expansion, in violation of International Court of Justice’s jurisprudence.
4. By stonewalling international resolutions by abusing its veto power, in violation of International Court of Justice’s jurisprudence.
5. By failing to condition military aid to Israel based on its compliance with human rights norms, in violation of domestic law.
The UN’s responsibility for failure to prevent Israel’s violations of international law:
1. The UN is subject to international law, as its purpose is “to maintain international peace and security,” “respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples,” and “to promote respect for human rights for all.” Failure to do so amounts to a failure to meet its own mandate.
2. This leads to the conclusion that the UN cannot simply denounce and condemn Israel’s violations of international law; it follows that the UN must do more to stop these violations.
3. The UN’s Quartet (comprised of the UN, the European Union, the US and the Russian Federation) has failed to effectively oppose settlement building, construction of the Wall and international humanitarian law and human rights law.
As these violations are of a grave and serious nature, the jury urges international communities to stand in solidarity and in anger with the Palestinian community – refugees and those in the occupied territories – to demand justice and an end to the Israeli apartheid.
“We are reclaiming the Un for those who stand with justice, human rights and the Palestinian people,” said Cynthia McKinney, jury member and former member of the US Congress.
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